Monday, September 15, 2008

Speaking of Frames

A couple of my recent posts have been on "frames"--concepts and ideas that are associated in the consciousness about issues.

If birth, as well as pregnancy and breastfeeding, issues can be framed as social issues and concerns relating to the legal rights of patients and reproducing women as well as public health concers (which I believe it can be with the proper practice and research to back it up), then what type of coalition building can occur?

One important aspect of framing issues is selecting the messenger. The messenger can assist or hinder the effective communication regarding an issue and can either reinforce the unwanted, past frames or can support the development of new, more accurate frames in the public consciousness.

Which brings me to my theory that is childbirth issues are social issues, including legal issues that also makes birthing a civil rights issue.

And who is a better mesenger for civil rights battles than the ACLU?

The American Civil Liberties Union's job is to "conserve America's original civic values - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights - and defend the rights of every man, woman, and child in this country." Many people may view the oranization as extremely liberal and opposed to tradition American values.

The ACLU has issued this article which addresses some of the misconceptions of their organization. I also beleive it can be seen from this article how the ACLU could work with birth activists to fix many of the legal issues inherent in the modern maternity system.
Three Things You Should Know About the ACLU

We're for traditional American values. In many ways, the ACLU is the nation's most conservative organization. Our job is to conserve America's original civic values - the Constitution and the Bill of Rights - and defend the rights of every man, woman, and child in this country.

We're not anti-anything.
The only things we fight are attempts to take away or limit your civil liberties, like your right to practice any religion you want (or none at all). Or to speak out - for or against - anything at all. Or to be treated with equality and fairness, no matter who you are.

We're there for you.
Rich or poor, straight or gay, black or white or brown, urban or rural, pious or atheist, American-born or foreign-born, able-bodied or living with a disability. Every person in this country should have the same basic rights. Since our founding, we've been working hard to make sure no one takes them away.

In my vision of a concerted effort to change the modern maternity system, the ACLU would partner with a birth think-tank and the grassroots birth activists to petition change, make midwifery care more accessible and affordable to American women and descrease the high infant and maternal mortality rates around the time of birth and make unhindered, normal birth the norm.

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